Football team to battle Columbus East

Winner will advance to 5A State title game

Senior running back Markese Stepp celebrates with sophomore quarterback Roman Purcell after his rushing touchdown against Decatur Central in the Sectional championship. The Irish won the game 42-21 and will host Columbus East Nov. 17 at Tech to determine who gets to play for the Class5A State championship during Thanksgiving weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Christian Daniels

Senior running back Markese Stepp celebrates with sophomore quarterback Roman Purcell after his rushing touchdown against Decatur Central in the Sectional championship. The Irish won the game 42-21 and will host Columbus East Nov. 17 at Tech to determine who gets to play for the Class5A State championship during Thanksgiving weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Chandler Watson, Sports Co-editor

After traveling to Bloomington Nov. 10 to take on South in the Regional title game, a 35-21 Irish victory, the varsity football team now returns to its home away from home for the Class 5A Semistate title game.

Head Coach Mr. Rick Streiff’s team hosts Columbus East Nov. 17  at 7 p.m. at Arsenal Tech for the chance to play the following weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium for the State title, what would be the 13th Indiana football championship for the program, as is printed on the back of this season’s official tailgate T-shirts.

Columbus East enters the game with an impressive 12-1 record, but perhaps without the level of competition that Streiff’s team has taken on during the season, with that competition including out-of-state powers in Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.

Indiana opponents

The Irish, in fact, have won every game this season against Indiana opponents. Given its loss to Columbus North, that is not a boast the Olympians can make.

During an interview on Nov. 13 in Loretto Hall, after he and his coaching staff had reviewed video of their Semistate opponent, Streiff said, “It’s hard to tell on film how well we will match up with them. This will be an important factor for the first quarter of the game. That quarter will really allow us to see what we can do against them.”

Match up

On film, Columbus East appears to be quite physical and likes to run the ball, and Streiff said their quarterback also has the skill set to effectively run the ball.

Streiff noted that Columbus East has not had to pass the ball often due to the fact that have not needed to have an effective passing game to win this season.

Essentially the Olympians have been able to run up big win margins over its fellow Hoosier Hills Conference opponents.

The Olympians match up very similarly to the size of the Irish.

The Olympians are also a very physical team up front. And  like Streiff’s team, they have a very well executed run game.

Similar to the Irish’s run attack, East’s run attack is strong as well. It is the main focus of  the offense ran by Varsity Head Coach Mr. Bob Gaddis, who celebrated his the 300th win against Terre Haute North in the Regional.

Streiff said he hopes to minimize both turnovers and the Olympians’ possession time.

Streiff’s team will stick to the philosophy it used last week against Bloomington South, if the opposing team does not have possession of the ball, they cannot score.

It will also be a big factor of the game to be physical up front against the Olympians because of the team’s recent domination of the line of scrimmage of past opponents including the mutual opponent in the Jeffersonville Red Devils.

Streiff said that he and the Irish will truly see the talent that East possesses during the first quarter, due to the fact that,”it is hard to determine how good (Columbus East) is on the film I have watched,” said Streiff.

Both teams have a similar philosophy, to come at the other team as hard as possible play after play.

Streiff said he expects the game to be a slug-fest. He also expects the contest to be either a low scoring or high scoring game, but either way, it should be close.

Jeffersonville’s Red Devils, who compete in Class 6A and were eliminated in the first round of the Sectional by Columbus North, experienced playing both the Irish and Columbus East during the regular season, losing each time by identical 48-7 scores.

Thoughts from Jeffersonville

Contacted via email Monday, Jeffersonville Head Coach Mr. Alonzo Browning said although there were not any significant weaknesses to either team and that both teams are big, physical and fundamentally sound football teams with good players and coaches, he expects the game to be close and extremely competitive giving the edge to Cathedral, but predicted the Olympians to come out on top 24-21.

Browning believes that the Olympians will win the game because of the consistency at which they play, and wrote, “You know what they like to do, but they continue to do what East does. (East also) dominates the line of scrimmage.”

He believes the Olympians will get the victory if, “they do what they do, run the ball, play sound defense, win the turnover battle and if they can be the more physical team,” Browning wrote.

In his email, Browning wrote of Cathedral’s “need to stop the run, establish the run, make plays on special team and dominate the line of scrimmage.”

Browning wrote that Cathedral’s strengths consist of “the size of the players. It felt like I brought my young high school team to play a Division III team (and also the) overall team speed.”

Browning cited the Irish’s several  Division I athletes and the fact that Streiff’s team is good on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

With two very strong teams that both have a well developed run attack and a decent passing game, the fans should be ready for a tight and exciting game between the Irish and the Olympians.

At about 9:30 Friday evening, the Jeffersonville coach should know whether or not his prediction of a Columbus East victory comes to fruition.

Gaddis, the Columbus East head coach in his 17th year, was contacted via email on Nov. 9 with a request for his comments regarding the Semistate title game, but he did not respond.